Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
World News | By Carolyn Briggs

New Delhi bans fireworks ahead of Diwali to tackle pollution

New Delhi bans fireworks ahead of Diwali to tackle pollution

Justice A.K. Sikri said today: 'Let's try out at least one Diwali without firecrackers'.

On 12 September, the court partially lifted its ban order of November suspending permanent licences in NCR.

Last November, about a million children were forced to stay home from school, thousands of workers reported sick and queues formed outside shops selling face masks as New Delhi struggled with its worst pollution for almost 20 years.

Reacting to the top court's order, renowned author and television personality Chetan Bhagat said: "Banning crackers on Diwali is like banning Christmas trees on Christmas and goats on Bakr-Eid".

Some said the Supreme Court's ruling was unfair to India's Hindu majority and went way too far.

Since the order continues till October 31at, sales can resume from 1st November.

The court's order also includes that in silence zone there should be no firecrackers at any cast.

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The US embassy data shows air quality level in Delhi has already reached unhealthy levels.

The Court had, therefore, revoked the suspension of valid permanent licences to possess and sell fireworks in Delhi and NCR.

Last month, the court temporarily suspended the ban and allowed the sale of crackers, saying a complete ban would be an "extreme step" and a "graded approach" was needed to tackle pollution.

A 2014 World Health OrganiSation survey of more than 1,600 cities ranked Delhi as the most polluted.

"According to Hindu belief, the sound of fireworks and crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth and making gods aware of their plentiful state".

Diwali, traditionally ushered in with the setting off of firecrackers mainly by India's majority Hindu community, falls on October 19 this year.

The twists and turns on the part of the apex court were mainly because there is no credible and reliable study by any Indian agency on the extent bursting of firecrackers affects the environment and private agencies have reported contradictory findings.

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